Province No. 1

Construction work at Upper Trishuli 3A Hydroelectric Project resumes

- Prahlad Rijal, Kathmandu

Jul 2, 2019-

Work at the construction site of the Upper Trishuli 3A power plant in Rasuwa and Nuwakot districts resumed after a brief hiatus due to the non-issuance of labour permits to Chinese workers.

The Department of Labour and Occupational Safety had withheld visa extensions to foreign nationals working for China Gezhouba Group Company at the construction site in line with the Labour Regulations 2017.

The regulations bar officials from extending labour permits to foreign workers who have worked in Nepal for more than five years and limit the number of foreign workers in development projects to 5 percent of the total workforce.

Earlier, Energy Minister Barsha Man Pun and Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi had discussed issues pertaining to permit extensions and delays by the Chinese contractor. “When asked by the minister about the time overruns in projects undertaken by Chinese contractors, Ambassador Yanqi said that they were facing issues related to visas, land acquisition and natural disasters,” the ministry said.

Officials of the Upper Trishuli 3A Hydroelectric Project said that work resumed a week following the meeting after labour visa related issues were resolved.

“Technical issues facing the project which is close to completion have been dealt with after an interim arrangement allowing the resident workers to extend their stay,” said project chief Phadindra Joshi. “The project, which began long before the regulations came into effect, employs more than the permitted number of Chinese workers and experts.”

The delay has thwarted the power utility’s plan to start producing 30 MW from the plant's second unit within June. According to Joshi, the project has revised its completion schedule, and it is expected to operate at full capacity by July-end. “We have successfully installed supporting equipment after work resumed, and are working to perform structural tests and generate power by July 30,” said Joshi.

The scheme, the largest to come into operation this year, is expected to ease electrical stress in Kathmandu during peak hours besides allowing the Nepal Electricity Authority to save water in the Kulekhani reservoir for contingencies.

According to power utility Managing Director Kulman Ghising, the power plant will help to maintain the demand-supply equilibrium in Kathmandu as its load centre is located near the city and it is able to produce 45 MW during the dry season.

In May, the first of the two turbines at the power plant roared to life, nine years after construction began, making it the first state-owned scheme commissioned by the power utility this fiscal year.

The project was initially expected to be commissioned by 2014 but it came into operation only in 2019 as it faced multiple setbacks owing to delays in work execution and heavy damage to the infrastructure caused by the 2015 earthquake.

Apart from the plant, the power utility has also recently built a 220 kV transmission line connecting Trishuli corridor projects to Matatirtha substation as an alternative to long distance transmission lines running from Hetauda-Kulekhani-Syuchatar.

The reduction in the transmission distance is expected to avoid energy losses leading to reliable power supply in the Valley where, officials say, around 450 MW of the country's total energy demand is concentrated.

The state-owned power utility is building the plant through a subsidiary with a concessional loan of $114.7 million from the Export-Import Bank of China. The interest rate on the loan is 1.75 percent, and the repayment period is 20 years starting from the date of commercial operation.

Published: 03-07-2019 06:30

User's Feedback

Click here for your comments

Comment via Facebook

Don't have facebook account? Use this form to comment